For some naturals, whether they transitioned slowly or went the “big chop” route, embracing their natural hair texture may not have been an easy process. Not every natural immediately falls in love with their unique texture and that’s okay. It is an emotional, psychological, and physical process. The natural hair journey is different for everyone. There are no rules. There are no time restraints on when and how you embrace your curls. You should move at your own pace. One that allows you space to go through the process in a self-loving manner.
Natural hair texture
Transitioning to natural hair is a process that begins by first accepting the fact that once your relaxed hair is completely removed, the texture staring back at you in the mirror may not be what you imagined. Some textures are kinkier, curlier or have more coils than others. Some naturals have looser curl patterns and some have no defined curl pattern or a mixture of everything, but this does not make one texture better than the other.
Afro-textured hair is the most unique hair texture on the planet. No matter how many African-American women you see flaunting their natural textures; no two textures will ever be identical. The first step to learning to love your natural hair is accepting the fact that your hair texture is unique to the structure of your DNA and will not look like anyone else’s hair that you know.
Encountering your natural hair
The journey to acceptance of your natural hair texture may not come easily for every woman. For some, the journey may start off as intimidating or even a little vulnerable. This is not uncommon especially when many African-American women with chemically-processed hair have not seen their true hair texture since childhood. Most black women who have relaxed hair were likely introduced to the process as a young child. Their mothers would resort to relaxing their child’s naturally coarse hair for convenience and manageability.
Gather an armory of resources
Today, we are seeing more women leaving the chemically-laden relaxers behind in order to achieve stronger, longer, and healthier hair. There are hundreds of resources available on the web to help inspire, uplift, and motivate women who desire to wear their natural hair textures.
There are many blogs, YouTube videos, meetup groups, online communities, and international events all over the world. They all provide support to women who are interested, transitioning, or have been wearing their natural hair for years. There is helpful information available for all types of help along your journey.
The goal for seeking these resources is not to focus on hair textures that you wish were your own, but to find others who have similar textures for inspiration and tips on what products, methods, and styles work best for your similar textures. If you recently big chopped, follow other women with small Afros and shorter hair.
If you are transitioning, it would do you no justice to follow women who are fully natural and try to mimic the styles they have created. Find inspiration from other women who are also transitioning for hair care and styling inspiration.
How to discover the right hair products
Discovering products that work for you and your unique texture is the next step in learning to love your hair. Not every product that you hear someone rave about will have the same effect for your hair. Play around with different types of products to determine what works best for your hair. The good news is every product you will be using is natural and safe. You do not have to worry about permanent damage. If you happen to find a product that sparks your interest, try to find reviews by naturals who have a similar hair texture and density as your own before deciding to splurge on the product. Attend tradeshows to get some free samples to try before you invest on products.
You may find that the product doesn’t work for you at all. Don’t get upset as trial and error is also a part of learning and embracing your newly discovered hair texture. Don’t be afraid of trying new products even if no one seems to be raving about it at the moment.
Love your beautiful crown that is uniquely yours
Even if you are still struggling with your decision to wear your natural hair, learn to admire the unique features that you have other than your hair. Learning to love your unique, natural hair texture may not happen overnight for every natural. You may fluctuate between elated freedom and frustrating worry. You may even question your decision and contemplate going back to chemical processing.
The natural hair journey is a process that may force you to reexamine and redefine your definition of beauty. It may force you to look at yourself in a raw and unfiltered light that will have you questioning your views on beauty. Removing the chemically-altered hair from our head is one thing, but removing our views on beauty is something that will require us to transform our thought process on beauty, self-awareness, and self-acceptance.